Beverley Kimber, a child-minder from Priory Vale, is facing losing half her income and taking on the cost of learning to drive and keeping a second car, after failing in her appeal for her four year old son Ben to be allocated a place at Red Oaks Primary School, just yards away from her home.
“Despite living so close to Red Oaks, Orchid Vale and Oakhurst, Ben’s been allocated a place at Haydon Wick primary,” said Beverley. “It will take an hour there and back on two buses each way, which means that I will no longer be able to mind children after school.”
Beverley was so angry about the situation that she set up a Facebook group ‘More school places in North Swindon’ which has 39 members.
She added, “the traffic problems in Priory Vale are bad already and we’ve no space to keep a second car. Houses are still being built even though there aren’t enough school places available locally. I’m sure if they really tried the schools could accommodate more children. Why does Red Oaks have such a huge car park instead of more school buildings?
“I’m worried about the future. My son might have to travel even further away to secondary school, which is ridiculous when we have Isambard right on our doorstep.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said, “when there are more applications than places at a particular school, the published oversubscription criteria are used. Within each criteria, applications are then ranked in a straight-line distance from the home address to the school.
“While Mrs Kimber’s preferred schools were in her particular catchment area, unfortunately there were more children who lived closer to these schools.
“Mrs Kimber was offered the next closest school which had a place which was Haydon Wick Primary School. An appeal was submitted, but due to infant class size restrictions, the panel upheld the decision to refuse a place at Red Oaks.
“The School Admissions Team recognise that certain schools in the Northern Sector are oversubscribed but maintain there were enough spaces to accommodate those living in the catchment area.”
Expansion for two primaries in North Swindon
Oakhurst Primary’s mobiles will be dismantled at the end of July when it moves to a permanent building, to be reassembled to provide more temporary classrooms at Catherine Wayte Primary School, Abbey Meads.
Work on building an eight classroom extension at St Francis Church of England Primary School, Taw Hill will start later in the year on the present car park on Aitken Road. The land was originally designated for a church which was to have shared a hall with the school until the Diocese of Bristol dropped the proposal in 2004.
A new car park will be built on land earmarked for a community centre between the school and medical centre.